A great Victorian theatrical tradition that died out almost a century ago is being revived by Newcastle’s newest bar restaurant – and the search for stars has started.
Throughout the 1800s, music hall theatres across the country staged shows featuring everything from singers and comics to speciality acts such as ventriloquists, trapeze artists, jugglers, magicians, cyclists, sword swallowers and illusionists.
Newcastle’s acts were among the most popular in the country – and now Colonel Porter’s Tavern, Botanical Garden and Rhum Bar, on Dean Street, is launching a search for their modern-day counterparts.
The bar – which is modelled on the private gentlemen’s clubs of the 19th century – is bringing vaudeville back to the city, with plans to hold monthly Howay Hootenanny live shows and it wants to hear from anyone with an interesting or unusual act.
The ticketed shows, scheduled to begin on Wednesday October 4, will be held in the venue’s general lounge to entertain guests with a lively programme of acts – the quirkier, the better.
Colonel Porter’s sales manager and event organiser, Chrissie Gladstone, reveals: “What we’re looking for are performers whose acts are out of the ordinary.
“Very much like the Victorian music halls, we want to hear from accordion players, people who can pay the spoons, jugglers, dancers, ventriloquists – anyone with an unusual act.
“It doesn’t matter if they’ve never played in front of an audience before – this will be their chance.”
The aim is to present a different programme of acts each month, although Chrissie is keen to stress that this is not a Britain’s Got Talent-style competition.
“No-one will be judged – although the better the act, the more applause they will probably get!” she explains.
“With its gaslight-style lighting, thick velvet drapes and eccentric and opulent furnishings, Colonel Porter’s is the perfect place for an event like this – and maybe we will find the variety stars of the future.”
Those wishing to perform at the Howay Hootenanny should send a short video clip of their act to Chrissie at firstname.lastname@example.org
0191 261 7600